With a friend who loves France so much that she plans to move there, I recently found myself thinking about the French way of life. This is something that she and I have discussed at length and me being me, it often revolved around food. I remember smiling at the thought of our countless drool sessions over the idea of cheese, bread and red wine. Often glamorised, the stereotypical way of life in France is certainly different from England. So, if I pop over to visit her this summer, how could I stay healthy without denying myself anything? Perhaps some tips from the French themselves…
Food has a time and a place
Apparently, the French don’t snack between meals. This may sound like a tough nut to crack, especially to those of us who are used to constantly chewing on something, but the idea is that all meals have a time and a place. This is something that I have been finding myself sticking to naturally whilst following Slimming World but it isn’t always easy. With delicious food about within a holiday frame of mind, snacks between meals would be difficult to resist but with good intentions, you never know.
There are three meals per day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and no snacks in between except for coffee, naturally. If suddenly feeling a craving for something sweet, opting for a small square of chocolate or some fruit would be a better choice than an entire cake in one sitting. Not an easy task to make better choices with all of those gorgeous patisseries around but worth a try nonetheless.
Eat smaller portions
Another thing to learn from the French is to eat smaller portions. The portions are half the size than many other cultures are used to and they take twice the time to eat it. Sitting down with a meal takes time when you do it to socialise as well – and not because the meal is so large.
A lot of cultures are guilty of this one, and some of us have even grown up with parents who will fill our plates and make us sit there until we finish. The learning curve when it comes to portion control is, in other words, rather sharp and it certainly isn’t one that I have mastered.
There is some good news though. There are lots of excellent restaurants to choose from, where the hard work is done for you, especially if you stay somewhere central. I have heard good things about the Paris Marriott Champs Elysees Hotel, and if staying here you’ll be at the heart of everything with a great base to explore from.
Drink tea and eat soup
Stay hydrated and you will feel fuller for longer. This is often a tip you hear when discussing healthy eating and lifestyle. Besides from drinking multiple glasses of water per day, it can be a good idea to give both herbal tea and soup a go; at least that’s how I hear the French are doing it. Herbal tea has little to no caffeine so you can drink it throughout the day. Soup, on the other hand, is incredibly nutritious and can help you to feel full for longer. I can just imagine the smell of french onion soup and some fresh crusty bread…
Staying healthy while on holiday in France would be a lot easier if one could snap out of vacation-mode and eat like the locals do. Your body will thank you when you’re back home and you might even pick up a few lifelong habits. If I end up venturing over the water, I shall certainly be putting these ideas to the test in a bid not to over-indulge entirely. Whether I will be successful remains to be seen, but I will keep you posted.